On Monday afternoon, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders read a prepared statement about the White House's handling of allegations that former staff secretary Rob Porter had physically and mentally abused both his ex-wives.
"The President and the entire administration take domestic violence very seriously and believe all allegations need to be investigated thoroughly,"-Sanders said. "Above all, the President supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process."
Asked why those conciliatory words seemed to be at such odds with Trump's own statements -- on Friday and then in a tweet on Saturday -- about the Porter situation, Sanders responded that Trump "literally dictated that statement to me."
Donald Trump is a president who has redefined how a president communicates. Not just on Twitter, where his penchant for tweeting off-message (and politically incorrect) sentiments has come to be a defining trait, but also in his drop-ins on the press corps and his extended question-and-answer sessions as he is boarding Marine One outside the White House.
The simple fact -- and Trump knows this -- is that statements (or tweets) coming directly from him mean more -- and, recent history suggests, are a more accurate depiction of what he really thinks.
There have been an untold number of times in the first year-plus of Trump's presidency when his White House has tried to push a certain storyline, only to be totally undermined by the President himself.
And so, if Trump really wanted to correct the record on his views on Rob Porter and the women who have accused him of domestic abuse, he could pick up his phone and rap out 280 characters on it. Or he could take a minute at the start of a public appearance -- like the one Trump did on infrastructure today -- to say exactly what he apparently told Sanders.
He didn't do that. Why? My guess is because, well, he doesn't believe it. Or he doesn't believe just that. As in: He may sympathize with the victims but he also likes Rob Porter (and Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly and Roy Moore) and tends to believe them over the accusations made against them by women.
The Point: At the root of all this is Trump's own denial of the accusations against him by more than a dozen women who came out during the 2016 campaign. Admit that the allegations against Porter are credible and need to be believed, and it becomes that much more difficult to deny the allegations against you.
Read Monday's full edition of The Point, and sign up to get future editions delivered to your inbox:
- What makes no sense about Donald Trump's Rob Porter response
- Why Donald Trump won't-condemn Rob Porter
- What Donald Trump gets dead wrong in his Rob Porter defense
- Rob Porter scandal: Everywhere but Fox News
- Rob Porter, and Mormonism's #MeToo Moment
- A timeline of the White House's head-scratching responses to the Rob Porter debacle
- Rudy Giuliani isn't making much sense
- It makes perfect sense that Roseanne is a Trump voter
- Why Orrin Hatch had two statements on Rob Porter's resignation
- Rob Porter was a rising star before abuse allegations surfaced